COVID-19 Pandemic – White Mountains, New Hampshire (Sept. 2020)
2020 Human Impact, White Mountains – During these strange times, like many of you, I have been trying to stay safe and worrying about family and friends. I also have watched the New Hampshire White Mountains get trashed over the last few months. While human impact (overuse) is not a new problem here in the White Mountains, it has gotten much worse during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Being a native of New Hampshire, I hate seeing the White Mountains being treated so poorly. I have never seen such a lack of respect for nature. However, overuse has been a problem throughout the history of the White Mountains. And with the surge in outdoor recreation in the 21st-century, this was bound to happen again. And even in today’s conservation minded-society, there is still no easy solution to the problem.
Axe Head – Livermore, New Hampshire
Identifying Historical Artifacts, White Mountains – If you are picking up trash in the New Hampshire White Mountains during the current human impact issue, please educate yourself about historical artifacts and the laws that protect them. I now know of two instances where do-gooders picking up trash removed artifacts, thinking they were trash, from the White Mountain National Forest.
Many of the metal objects (horseshoes, metal strapping, railroad spikes, stoves, tins, etc.), glass bottles, trestle remains, and numerous other objects along the White Mountains trail system are protected artifacts. These artifacts should be left where you found them; they help tell the story of the early settlers, farming communities, and logging railroads that once were in the White Mountains. The included photos show some of the various artifacts you could come across while out hiking.
Lakes of the Clouds – Mount Washington, New Hampshire
Ammonoosuc River Waterfalls, White Mountains – Beginning at Lakes of the Clouds on Mount Washington in Sargent’s Purchase, this roughly 55 mile long river travels through a number of towns before draining into the Connecticut River at Woodsville in the town of Haverhill. Ammonoosuc is an Abenaki word meaning “fish place” or “small narrowing fishing place". The Abenaki fished and camped along the river.
Protected under the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program, the Ammonoosuc River is managed in accordance with RSA 483. The portion of the Ammonoosuc River from Lower Falls in Carroll to the Connecticut River in Woodsville was added to the program in 2007. And the portion from Lakes of the Clouds to Lower Falls, known as the Upper Reach watershed, was added to the program in 2009. This work focuses mainly on the Upper Reach section of the river.
East Branch & Lincoln RR – Standing Utility Pole, Camp 17 Area
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Utility Poles – Telephone wires were strung from utility poles along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) to the numerous logging camps. In some areas along the railroad, side mounted wooden telephone peg holder pins nailed directly to trees were used in place of utility poles. Today, these utility poles are considered artifacts of the White Mountains logging era.
While this blog article focuses only on the abandoned East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, other logging railroads in the White Mountains used the same approach described above. And remnants of utility poles can still be found along some of the other railroads. However, as nature slowly reclaims the East Branch & Lincoln territory, standing utility poles are becoming a rarity.
Sanders Bridge (2006) – Randolph Path, White Mountains
Sanders Bridge, Randolph Path – The Sanders Bridge crosses Cold Brook along the Randolph Path in Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire. It is a memorial to Miriam Sanders, who was treasurer of the Randolph Mountain Club (RMC) for many years. The RMC maintains this rustic looking wooden bridge.
Originally built in 1976, the Sanders Bridge has had repairs over the years. In 2017, when the RMC did repairs to it, students from Burke Mountain Academy transported materials to the bridge site. If you have spent any time on the trail system in the Northern Presidential Range, you are likely aware of the RMC and their dedication to conserving the trails that they maintain.
Agassiz Basin – North Woodstock, New Hampshire
Earth Day, April 22, 2020 – Happy Earth Day from the New Hampshire White Mountains! Earth Day is an annual day founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970. Many consider Earth Day to be the birth of the modern environmental movement. And the purpose of this day is to celebrate and create awareness for the environment. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Earth Day acts as an educational tool and influences all generations to care about the environment. If you have never heard about this day take some time to read up on the history and importance of Earth Day here. In the 21st-century, it is essential that we understand the impact we have on the environment. Education and proper training can help control the problem.
Franconia Ridge Trail (2008) – White Mountains, New Hampshire
Trailside History, White Mountains – The history of the trail system in the New Hampshire White Mountains is amazing; early 19th-century trail builders are true legends of the White Mountains, and they are forever implanted into the history books. Trails built in the 1800s, such as Crawford Path, Davis Path, and Lowe’s Path, are still in use today. And while the building of hiking trails is a great topic, there are also many interesting features along the trails.
Trailside features such as Cow Cave, Gibbs Brook dam, Walton’s Cascade, and the many abandoned cellar holes along the trail system have some intriguing history attached to them, but they are often unnoticed by today’s hikers. So this blog article focuses on a few trailside features.